Is there a major difference in the cost of manufacturing, say for example, a 1 TB hard drive as compared to a 250 GB hard drive? Is it the same when hard drives get even as big as 8 TB?

If no, then why is the price difference so great between the two products? ($17 vs. $77 for 2.5 inch Hard Drives on Amazon)

If yes, what is the reason it cost more money to fit more space on a hard disk? How does disk capacity work, and how do technology companies eventually make even larger hard disks?

Also, is it the same situation for flash storage, solid state drives, and SD cards?

I figured Electrical Engineering was the best place to ask this instead of Stack Overflow or Server Fault, as it was more hardware-related and I hope it isn't too broad or general. If this is the wrong place, any guidance as to where the best place for this question is would be appreciated. Thanks.


closed as off-topic by Wouter van Ooijen, PeterJ, duskwuff, JIm Dearden, Daniel Grillo May 27 '16 at 11:34

  • This question does not appear to be about electronics design within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel it is about stuffing more bits in a tight space while creating a bigger hard disk. So, the manufacturing process for the bigger hard disk changes. NAND Flash comes in blocks of 128/256/512/1024 MBits and series of these blocks form the 64GB/128GB Storage; with increasing block size, the transistor tech changes i.e. They get smaller. \$\endgroup\$ – ammar.cma May 27 '16 at 6:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ This site is about asking and answering single, objectively answerable questions. You ask a lot of questions, some of which ask for opinions ("do you think..."), and you end with a rant against Apple. (And no, I don't know what the correct forum is for this question any more than you do.) Vote to close. \$\endgroup\$ – Wouter van Ooijen May 27 '16 at 6:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WoutervanOoijen This is my first question on this site, so I don't "ask a lot of questions" asking for opinions. With Apple I was giving an example of the varying prices of devices with varying storage capacitys, and politely asked if this wasn't the correct place, then where possibly is? I thought it was an interesting topic and thought some might enjoy a good discussion. Sorry if I hurted you. \$\endgroup\$ – William Casey May 27 '16 at 6:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ No hurt at all, but IMO the question doesn't fit this site. (Note that it definitely isn't a discussion site.) I am no expert on other sites, there might be a more appropriate place somehwere. \$\endgroup\$ – Wouter van Ooijen May 27 '16 at 6:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you remove the opinion based sections within your question, I think that might help bring it on-topic. \$\endgroup\$ – stefandz May 27 '16 at 6:57

I find the pricing difference to be the opposite of what you describe. Locally I can get a 500gb drive for $63 and a 1000gb drive for $68

Or another model 1000gb $68, 2000gb $98

Data is stored on a platter inside the HDD. A plater is not that different to a CD except the data is stored magnetically.

When a manufacturer makes a 500gb drive they may fit the 500gb on a single platter. The cost breakdown may be $40 for the metalic casing, read/write heads and circuitry and $10 for the platter = $50

When they take the same HDD model and increase to 1000gb all they need to do is add another platter = $60

However it eventaully gets to the point where adding another platter (maybe the maximum number of platters is around 4) is not practical and so the manufacturer must invest in research and development to increase data density of each platter resulting in a more advanced model of HDD with 2000gb per platter. There are also premium pricing for what is considered a better designed/more durable models.

Flash storage like SD card or SSD works differently, no moving parts or platters. Flash storage still requires effort in manufacturing to increase the density with which data is stored to advance in storage size and ofcourse flash storage comes in various forms some of which are better quality and more costly to manufacture.

Edit: If you want an explanation of the large price difference you see on Amazon it is as follows:

250gb - So old now its being cleared out at bargin prices, if not sold soon will literally be sent to scrap

1000gb - Currently a reasonable size - most of cost in the casing etc, probably has 1 * 1000gb platter

2000,3000gb - 2 or 3 platters, Only a small extra cost to add extra platter to the drive

4000gb - A premium is charged because some people will pay it for that extra platter, probably has the greatest price markup from manufacture cost.


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